There’s been a lot of talk about politics and pandemics lately. These are important things to talk about. Disciples of Jesus should care about justice in this world and about physical well-being.
Yet remember Satan’s temptation: “All these kingdoms I will give you if you bow down and worship me” (see Matt. 4:8–9). You can know Satan has successfully seduced you with this particular temptation anytime you begin to believe the kingdoms of this world are more important than the kingdom of heaven. Whenever you focus wholly on the temporal and lose sight of the eternal. Whenever you spend all day thinking about physical safety instead of spiritual safety, or about justice in this world more than justification.
I have written elsewhere that justified people care about justice, and by “justice” I include the temporal justice of this world. Let’s not pit faith against deeds. Likewise, what good is it to say to a hungry man, “‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body” (James 2:16)?
Still, unless the saints continually focus the eyes of their hearts on the eternal, we will wrongly prioritize the temporal over the eternal, what we can see over what we cannot see—our present cities over the city whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10).
Therefore, as we come to the close of 2020, with all its important talk about politics and pandemics, 9Marks wants to help all of us once again cast our eyes toward the eternal—toward heaven. After a tough year like this one, we need to recalibrate. We need reminding of what’s of first importance, lest we lose our way.
Maturity, you might say, can be measured in time horizons. Toddlers see a couple seconds into the future, children to the weekend, teenagers to their college years, young adults to their retirement. Saints, however, are the ones whose gaze should stretch into eternity.
The world yanks our eyes to focus only on right now. But we must always fight to look toward eternity. Only then will politics and pandemics, work and play, the world or life or death or the present or the future, assume their right places (see 1 Cor. 3:22). We pray this Journal will help.
— Jonathan Leeman
P. S. Thanks to Tim Steward for the use of his painting Multitudes for the Journal’s cover. You can see more of Tim’s work here.
* * * * *